Richard O. Prum, William Robertson Coe Professor of Ornithology and Head Curator of Vertebrate Zoology, Peabody Museum of Natural History, Yale University
Can adaptation by natural selection truly account for everything we see in nature? How do animal mating displays and mate choice drive evolutionary change? What insights can they offer about the evolution of human sexuality? Drawing from his new book, The Evolution of Beauty, Richard Prum will consider Charles Darwin’s long-neglected theory of sexual selection, in which the act of choosing a mate for purely aesthetic reasons is an independent engine of evolutionary change. In a reimagining of how evolutionary forces work, Prum will reveal how mating preferences—what Darwin termed "the taste for the beautiful"—create the extraordinary range of ornament in the natural world.
The Evolution Matters Lecture Series is supported by a generous gift from Drs. Herman and Joan Suit.